Paris polyphylla : Introduction, Synonyms, Chemical Composition, Uses

Paris polyphylla Smith an important member of this genus can be truly called ‘jack of all trades’ with its properties of curing a number of diseases from diarrhea to cancer.
Paris polyphylla Smith an important member of this genus can be truly called ‘jack of all trades’ with its properties of curing a number of diseases from diarrhea to cancer.
Paris polyphylla

Latin name: Paris polyphylla Sm.
Family: Liliaceae


English Name: Love Apple
Sanskrit: Haimavati, Shvetavachaa.
Chinese Name: Chong lou
Nepali Name: Satuwa
Manipuri Name: Singpan
Japanese Name: jyuro, sokyu
Korean Name: jungru, johyu


Paris polyphylla commonly known as satuwa, is more abundant in the temperate Himalayas in Nepal, China and India.This is one of the medicinal plant which is listed as vulnerable as IUCN. Paris polyphylla Smith an important member of this genus can be truly called ‘jack of all trades’ with its properties of curing a number of diseases from diarrhea to cancer.


It is mainly found in moist, damp and shady places up to an altitude of 3300 meters and grows well in moist and humid soil. This plant is found more in the areas where the level of phosphorus is relatively high.

Plant Description:

This is a flowering plant from 10-100 cm and spread upto 30 cm wide. Leaves are in a whorl of 4-9 and are petioled, oblong or lanceolate. Flowers are green which are spreaded resembling to spider. The flower is hermaphrodite. Flowers bloom in July to August.

Chemical Composition:

The rhizome contains a glucoside, alpha-paristyphnin, which exhibited a depressant action on carotid pressure, myocardium, and respiratory movements experimentally. Similarly, steroid glycosides were also found in dried rhizomes.


Paris Pollyphylla Rhizome
Paris Pollyphylla Root

Parts used:



2-3 gram in powder
If used internally use from 4.5 to 9 grams daily in decoction form.

Uses of  Paris polyphylla:

In Nepal, rhizome of Paris polyphylla is used as antihelminthic, antispasmodic, digestive stomachic, expectorant and vermifuge. Powder of rhizome is used for fever and food poisoning. This is also used as an antidote to the bites of snakes and poisonous insects bites. The use of root is believed to heal the internal wounds as well as external wounds. In China, this was fed to cattle with diarrhoea and dysentery and also used for the treatment of injuries due to fall, fractures, convulsi, ns and strains. Whole plant can be used as febrifuge, while roots can be used an as analgesic, antiphlogistic (removes heat), antipyretic, antitussive and depurative. A decoction of root is used in the treatment of ulcers, diphtheria, epidemic Japanese B encephalitis, appendicitis, lymphadenopathy, tonsillitis, parotitis, mastitis and rheumatism. It causes the subsidence of swelling, alleviates pain and relieves boils, carbuncles, sore throat and traumatic pain. It is used as a primary herb in the treatment of liver, stomach, nose, lung, throat and breast cancer in traditional Chinese medicine.

Antitumor Activity of Paris Polyphylla:

Lee et al of the Department of Biochemistry, the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that the steroidal saponin of Paris polyphylla, polyphyllin D, could serve as a candidate for breast cancer treatment. Yan et al in 2009 of Tianjin University, China has reported that Rhizoma Paridis saponins showed anti-cancer activity against lung adenocarcinoma cell lines, both in-vivo and in-vitro. It is also reported from China that saponin in polyphylla induces apoptosis via mitochondrial mediated caspase activation pathway and inhibit tumour growth in a xenograft model of ovarian cancer. Similarly, while investigating the anti-cancer activity of 15 traditional Chinese medicines, it was found that Paris polyphylla Smith showed a predominant inhibitory effect . The finding suggested the potential of Paris polyphylla Smith against digestive cancer.


Bioactive natural products from the rhizome of Paris polyphylla also showed mild to moderate anti-leishmanial activities.

Anti-bacterial action:

The roots have shown anti bacterial action against Bacillus dysentery, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, E. coli, Staphylacoccus aureas, Haemolytic streptococci, Meningococci etc

Anti Fungal Action:

Deng et al in 2008 evaluated the anti-fungal activity of Paris saponin against Cladosporium cladosporioides and Candida species and showed comparable activity to chemicals used in some commercial products.

Other Actions:

It produces vasoconstriction in kidney, vasodilation in spleen and limbs and stimulates the isolated intestine.


1.IUCN Nepal. 2004. National Register of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (Revised and updated). IUCN–The World Conservation Union, Kathmandu, Nepal.

2.Bhattarai, K.R. and M.D. Ghimire. 2006. Cultivation and Sustainable Harvesting of commercially Important Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Nepal. Heritage Research and Development Forum, Nepal.

3.Baral, S.R. and P.P. Kurmi. 2006. A Compendium of Medicinal Plants in Nepal. Mrs. Rachana Sharma. Kathmandu, Nepal.

4.Dutta, I.C. 2007. Non Timber Forest Products of Nepal: Identification, Classification, Ethnic Uses and Cultivation. Hillside Press. Kathmandu.

5.Liang, S.Y. 2000. Flora of China. Science Press, Beijing and Missouri Botanic Garden, St. Louis.

6.Yung, H.C. 1985. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine. Los Angeles.

7.Duke, J.A. and E.S. Ayensu. 1985. Medicinal Plants of China. Reference Publications. ISBN 0-917256-20-1.

8.Lee, M.S., Yuet-Wa, J.C., Kong, S.K., Yu, B., Eng-Choon, V.O., Nai-Ching, H.W., Wai, T.M., Fung, K.P.:Cancer Bio Ther., 4(11): 1248-1254 (2005).

9.Yan, L.L., Zhang, Y.J., Gao, W.J., Man, S.L., Wang, L.:Exp Oncol, 31(1): 27-32 (2009).

10.Sun, J., Liu, B.R., Hu, W.J., Yu, L.X., Qian, X.P.: Phytother Res, 21(11): 1102-1104 (2007).

11.Devkota, K.P., Khan, M.T.H., Ranjit, R., Lannang,A.M., Samreen, Choudhary, M.I.: Natural Product Research, 21(4): 321-327 (2007).

12.Deng, D., Lauren, D.R., Cooney, J.M., Jensen, D.J.,Wurms, K.V., Upritchard, J.E., Cannon, R.D., Wang, M.Z., Li, M.Z.: Planta Med 24(11): 1397-1402 (2008).